Friday, February 13, 2015

Granted.

Did you know that the number one reason people don't adopt is because of the financial expense? This process is extremely expensive, as in anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000+ for a domestic adoption, and international adoptions can be double that, or more. It's disheartening and saddening and maddening and discouraging to think that money prevents precious little lives from connecting with people that would otherwise be so willing to love them.

This post is intended to encourage anyone who might have the desire to know more about adoption, and share of few of the steps we took to get to this point of waiting for our birth mother to deliver.

When we started this process, over a year ago, we were just researching and collecting information. I remember the shock I felt when I saw the total cost at the end of that fee schedule, and I cried. Like big fat ugly tears streaming down a red face kind of crying, because why, oh why, does it have to be so expensive? I was appalled, and heartbroken. How can these children be rescued from unstable situations and cared for and loved when it costs so much? My heart knew what we were supposed to do, but I couldn't wrap my head around the how.  Soon after that, I left my job as a nurse to be a stay at home mama, and we realized that it would be even more difficult as a one income family.

Bryan and I stepped out in faith, and have pursued what we believe that God has called us to do. We have been faithful to budget and save and cut costs like crazy and remain debt free while we were saving for this adoption.

As soon as our home study was completed, and in our little mitts, we started applying for grants. Did you know that there are folks out there that want to help folks like you and me with adoption expenses? Did you know that these beautiful people have a heart for children and understand that finances are the number one reason people don't adopt, and they truly want to lessen that burden? Isn't that amazing?!

We applied for fifteen grants, and prayed hard over those grant applications before we stuck them in the mailbox. And we continued to pray that God would choose to bless our family financially through those grants.

I am SO beyond excited to report that we have indeed been blessed abundantly. We received grant awards totaling $13,500 in funds! Words can not express my gratitude, in fact many times I have been brought to tears at God's goodness in our lives. Even if we had received no grants, I would still believe that God is so good, and that adoption is part of the plan he has for us, and I would still believe that he loves us immeasurably. However, THANK YOU Lord, and caring people for the grants!

My purpose in writing this, is to encourage any of you that might truly have a heart for adoption, but are afraid of the costs, and to let you know that there is help available. Here is a quick little run down of the process:

If you are interested in adoption through an agency, the first step is to actually choose an agency. Ask around about experiences others have had, and if they would recommend that agency. Interview with a few, and try to get a feel for whether or not they would be a good match for you. (The agency we are using now, is not the first one we interviewed with. It's ok to walk away and look for something different.)

Secondly, get your home study completed. It IS possible to do this step first, and if you do, before you settle on an agency, your case worker can probably give you some recommendations of agencies that he/she works with, and thinks highly of.

As SOON as you receive your completed home study, and have settled on an agency to work with, start filling out applications. Bryan and I set aside a few evenings and just knocked them out. They are PAGES long. Many require you to answer questions in paragraph form, however most applications ask the same questions. We just answered and saved those questions in a Word document, and then printed the ones we needed for each specific application. And then send them off as soon as they are completed.

We probably spent no more than twenty hours total, over a month or so, and I would say without hesitation, that amount of time was worth $13,500 to us.

In case you are interested, or ready to get started, I am including a list of Adoption Foundations/Ministries that (I think) are still currently accepting applications for grant awards:

*http://www.sowingroots.org/adoption-assistance/process.html
*http://familiesoutreach.org/adoption-grant-program/
*http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/adoption-funding/adoption-grants/
*http://www.handinhandadopt.org/cms/apply
*http://www.wecarefororphansfund.org/content/adoption_aid
http://ggam.org/
http://gracehavenhome.com/grace-haven-grants-fundraising/
http://www.giftofadoption.org/index.html
http://bohadoptionministry.com/grant-application/
http://www.kaelman.org/grant-information/
http://www.helpusadopt.org/index.html
http://www.savingchildren.net/
http://heartofthebride.org/
http://www.sacredselections.org/
http://funding-hope.org/apply-for-a-grant/
http://showhope.org/restore-hope/adoption-aid/#adoption-aid-grants
http://fundyouradoption.org/adoption-grants/
http://www.jscfoundation.org/requirements/
http://www.onelessministries.org/content/domestic_work/apply.asp
http://www.katelynsfund.org/?page=criteria-and-guidelines


My true desire is that more people would open their hearts and their homes to a child that needs someone to love them. And if that is not you, in this season of life, maybe you would consider supporting someone that would love to adopt, but is being held back by finances. If you don't know of anyone personally, all of the organizations above take donations and work hard to make sure they are responsible with who they award grants to. (*The first five on the list above are ones that supported our family specifically.)

Thank you for joining us on this crazy journey. Thank you for celebrating with us, thank you for your thoughts and your prayers and your well wishes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

...and Waiting...

So, adoption news first... The last time we spoke with our coordinator, we received a new due date of March 10th. So far we have heard due dates of March 8th, then Feb 18th, and now March 10th... which means that we really have no idea when this baby of ours is coming... But we are so super excited for whatever day he is born! I do think Valentine's Day would be fun though, since he is already so very loved!

Everything on the homefront is pretty much ready, so hopefully we can spend a little time relaxing over the next week or two while we wait... I'll believe that when it happens!

Recently, the days have been a mixture of fun and hectic and crazy and rushed and exhaustedly tearful and tired, and really enjoyable. Bryan worked pretty much non-stop doing construction related things for the last two weeks, and I have been so appreciative for the help and presence of others. I think Bryan and I both know that it's about to get sleepless around here, so we are trying to get as much done before the baby comes as possible. Maybe we're nesting...

My sister and her family from Denmark came for a visit last week and stayed with us for a few days. My sister was so amazingly helpful and such huge blessing, and of course we all enjoyed spending time with them!


We shared lots of family meals, played games, read stories, did arts and crafts, went to Blue Springs to see the manatees, hung out at playgrounds, and then Becky and I sorted and organized closets. The kids loved that they were able to have a sleepover with their cousins, and we enjoyed great morning breakfasts, picnic lunches and fun dinners together.







This crazy guy loves shoulders, and would be totally happy to remain perched there all day, just looking around with his curious lizard eyes.





Hello, movie star!











Sweet Cousins!











Towards the end of their stay, my mom and Becky hosted a sweet baby shower for our new boy. It was the first real celebration we've had in anticipation for his arrival, and it was so fun. Thank you mom & sissy for the great food, fun games, and time to spend with friends! And thank you friends for welcoming our baby!


Bella and Ines were great big girl helpers!



I'll tell you what- diapers and formula are some of THE BEST gifts! Of course new clothing and toys are fun too, but right now, the necessities of life are such a HUGE blessing to our family!




It was SO, SO good to see these ladies! Most of them I have known since Jr. High, but don't get to see nearly as much as I would like. 


Sara, we missed you friend! Your mama was a wonderful fill in for you though!

I'm not sure what this really has to do with anything, Lilly just happened to be wearing a feathered mask while at the party...

And that same day, this big guy lost his first tooth! 
Oh, what a smile!


One last thing, to my praying friends. There are a few more prayer requests that I would like to add to the rest:
~Please pray for a comfortable remainder of the pregnancy for our birth mother.
~Pray for an easy and quick, but mostly safe, delivery for both mom and baby.
~Pray for her as she grieves this loss. Pray for comfort and healing, and encouragement in knowing that she is making the right choice for this child.
~Pray for our meeting, that Bryan and I are able to convey our gratitude to her for choosing us, and for choosing life for this baby.
~And lastly, please pray that through this whole process, Bryan & I would be able to show God's love to her, in some way.


I think that's all I've got for tonight. Who knows what tomorrow will bring! Until next time...